Past Residencies

Wilkins Hill
September – October, 2004

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“An emphasis on ‘staging’ and phenomenology in Wilkins Hill’s practice is brought to the forefront in their installations which do not present a written or aural narrative for the viewer to directly engage with. Many recent works such as ‘The true meaning of Christmas’ have incorporated didactic story telling devices but ‘The Samboy International Challenge’ contains no obvious linear narrative to aid the viewer’s comprehension. Although some text is present in the work - in the video component and the sign - there is no apparent explanation for the commanding presence of the tent (made from two hinged screen doors and a found canvas), the five hand drawn vinyl circles, and the Arabic music (emanating from the tent) that accompanies footage of a setting sun as a backdrop to original movie credits endlessly playing on the monitor inside the tent. The video work contains hints to some sort of structure by its crediting of a ‘Samboy International Location shoot’, a ‘Circle Drawing Unit’, song credits that include references to circles and drawing and a brief message near the end of the credits that states: ‘The Samboy International Challenge is a competition held annually. Circle drawing contestants retain personal copyright on all circles depicted in this feature.’ Here, an internal logic has been followed by the artists that is not made conspicuous in the work, yet the various components of the installation have a visual logic to them, possibly due to the emphasis on the geometric shape that each component possesses. Circles, rectangles, triangles and squares are all arranged to play off one another, encouraging the viewer to think about the installation as a whole and not just as an arrangement of seemingly disparate elements - a reading which could easily occur when encountering an installation that attempts to disguise the logic of its making. Perhaps it is the structuring of a narrative and the simultaneous undermining of that structure that interests Wilkins Hill. The incorporation of the Arabic music in the video credits seems to aptly represent this, as the viewer’s interaction with this strange installation is like encountering something foreign, in which the formal qualities of ordinary objects take on a strange significance.”

- Ray Chechus

Excerpt from essay published in: ‘Wilkins Hill: Around the horseshoe’
IMA publishing 2005